K-12 Tax & spending climate: Madison closes in on a $500,000,000 Taxpayer Funded School Budget

Logan Wroge:

The Madison School Board adopted a $393 million operating budget for the 2017-18 school year Monday.

Board members voted unanimously on a budget that will increase the tax bill on the median value Madison home of $263,000 by $24.48. The budget relies on a $297 million tax levy, an increase of 3.52 percent compared to the last school year’s levy amount.

Board members added $1.6 million to the budget Monday evening: $1 million for special-education staffing and $600,000 for building maintenance.

Madison has long spent far more than most, despite long term, disastrous reading results.

Amber Walker:

“We made some (strategic choices) that we were going to invest more in teachers and shift the balance from SEAs,” she said. “I wonder if that is the pain we may be experiencing and hearing about in the district.”

Cheatham told the board that the special education team has a process for evaluating staffing needs in classrooms beyond the beginning of the year and a reserve of money is available to hire more staff. Cheatham suggested that the board wait until its November conversation around staffing to make those decisions.

“My concern is we have one week before the levy has to get established,” she said. “We agreed as a group that we were going to take a big step back and (assess) what are our goals when it comes to staffing… inclusive of special education.